The Cartesian Roots of Hume’s Scepticism

  • Zuzana Parusniková
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)


The Cartesian strand of Hume’s scepticism unfolds from the revolutionary change in the seventeenth century philosophy that can be called a turn to the subject; the old metaphysical framework in which everything, including our mind, was structured by a universal order was replaced by the independent human mind that broke free from any higher authority and became an autonomous and constructive cognitive agent. Descartes was the first to advance this idea and caused a paradigmatic change in philosophy that opened the modern era. Hume developed his philosophy on this ground and the fact that Hume turns to experience while Descartes turns to pure intellectual insight testifies to a secondary level of differences. The autonomy of the mind liberated man from metaphysical bonds but, at the same time, imprisoned him within his subjectivity, leading to phenomenalism. The question “what is beyond our mind?” becomes meaningless for Hume – it is something beyond experience and we have to suspend our judgment on this issue. Our beliefs and imagination are of course unaffected by this scepticism but are beyond the jurisdiction of reason.


Metaphysics Being Mind Modernity Epistemology 


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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zuzana Parusniková
    • 1
  1. 1.The Czech Academy of SciencesInstitute of PhilosophyPragueCzech Republic

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